Sathankulam custodial deaths: CBI's latest move - takes five police officers under its custody!

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken five main police officers, connected in the case of custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks in Sathankulam, Thoothukudi, under its custody for three days on Tuesday, days after taking over the probe into the custodial deaths from CBCID police. 

According to the reports, the CBI has been provided with three days to take five police officers mainly accused in the case - suspended Inspector Sridhar, Sub-Inspectors Balakrishnan, and Raghu Ganesh, head constables Murugan and Muthuraj under its custody. Initially, the probing team of the Central agency has moved its petition to the Madurai Chief Judicial Magistrate seeking the directive to take the officers under its custody for five days.

After hearing the petition, the Judicial Magistrate has consented the probing team to take the officers under its custody for three days until 5.30 pm on July 16 after which the arrested officers must be brought under the judicial custody. The petition for seeking five days of custody was moved before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on Monday evening. 

The Magistrate took up the petition on Tuesday and passed an order for three days CBI custody for the five arrested officers, who are currently lodged in Madurai Central Prison. The judicial magistrate has directed the CBI to produce five officers before the court on July 16. During the hearing on Tuesday, arrested officers Sridhar and Raghu Ganesh appealed to the Chief Judicial Magistrate to allow them to meet their counsels during the CBI custody.

The Judicial Magistrate had permitted their request. The team of seven CBI authorities headed by the agency's Additional Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar Shukla has taken over the probe into the custodial deaths of father and son on July 10. They conducted inquiries with the family members of the victims. 

Before CBI took over the case, the probe was carried out by the CBCID team which had arrested ten police officers attached to the Sathankulam police station in connection to the death so far. All the arrested police officers were suspended from their posts and FIR has been booked against them under the grounds of murder and wrongful confinement. 

All the arrested police officers have been lodged in Madurai Central prison. The CBI has pitched in for the probe as per the direction of the Central government which ordered the Central agency to probe the matter based on the request moved by the Tamil Nadu state government. The custodial deaths of Jayaraj and Bennicks, who were brutally tortured and beaten during the police custody, had stirred a massive national outrage and condemnations. 

The custodial deaths had got international attention after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had demanded a full investigation into the death of the father and son, which had spotlighted the police brutality in India. 

Must-read: Sathankulam custodial deaths: UN Chief's demand and TN Police's latest action!